December newsletter from the Bridge Rail Foundation

The title says it all and it should be clickable, but just in case, it isn't, here's the link:


There's a special note from Kevin Hines who is one of less than 2% to have jumped and survived and an outline of what's going to happen in 2010. Yes, the Bridge Authority has approved a net as a barrier but the money has yet to be found and, if things go the way they always have, it'll just be talk and no action and the issue will fade into the background again. People are still dying at the rate of 30 a year, one every 10 days, 2 or 3 a month. That shouldn't be allowed to continue. Really!


And the winner is ......

..... drum roll, please :-)

Kathy of BeadyZoo.
Please send me your address and I'll get the bag out to you asap.


200 Posts - can you believe it?

I certainly cannot. But, to celebrate and to reward my faithful readers for bearing with me - and I think "bearing with me" is an appropriate term considering the eclectic, very eclectic, nature of my blog - I am having a 200th post giveaway for regular readers only.
I apologize for the crummy picture quality, it's too late in the day for decent light. I hope you can tell that it's one of my shopping bags I'm giving away.
The usual rules apply: leave me a comment on this post and my husband will draw a name later this week. Maybe Friday or Saturday, we'll see. Please make sure to check back to see if you've won. There were winners in previous giveaways I had no way of contacting and they never checked back. Kind of pointless then, isn't it?

And, while I'm at it: a shameless plug for my daughter's etsy shop:
She makes very cute bags from Japanese fabrics and stitch markers for knitters, ranging from cute to elegant.
The image is "borrowed" from her etsy site.

Added quite a bit later: I should have mentioned that I'm also having a giveaway on my facebook fan page: you have to be a fan of Summerfield Designs to enter.


Today is National Survivors of Suicide Day

And the newspaper printed my letter to the editor (without calling me to verify/confirm the way they usually do):


I'm hoping for a giveaway next but that may or may not coincide with the 200th post.

Off to do two days of chain maille ......


And another one

Here's another bag made from the same pattern as the previous one - a few posts back. This time, I used an older Amy Butler fabric - the outside panels - and combined it with two brand new Sweetwater by Moda fabrics. I already had the newsprint looking fabric (loved it so much, I ordered a couple more yards) and found the center panel fabric on a trip to Healdsburg last weekend.
These bags very enjoyable to sew - no zippers! - and I think there may be more coming. After all, I'm trying to whittle down my stash. And one can never have too many shopping bags, right? And - and I may be alone in thinking that - they look nicer than the ones the stores sell you.


Bridge Rail Foundation Newsletter

The intermission didn't last very long, did it?
Here's the November newsletter from the Bridge Rail Foundation talking about delays and asking for ideas on what to do to speed up the process of getting that barrier built.


Houses in color

Just to show that I have interests other than sewing and suicide, here are some pictures of houses I took a couple of days ago. The two colorful ones are to be found on the way from the library to one of the grocery stores - if one doesn't take the direct route (which I often do) and they are diagonally across from each other on street corners. Nice and colorful, aren't they? Two bright Victorians in a sea of neutral Craftsman bungalows.
The third one is kind of milquetoast by comparison, isn't it?



This morning, I played. I've had this idea of repurposing old blue jeans for quite a while and I wanted to do some kind of simple applique using fusible material. This is it.
I dug really deep into my pile of old blue jeans (I usually donate whatever is still wearable but with these I would have committed crimes against fashion. Can you say peg legs?), cut into them, found nice colorful scraps and sat down with paper and ruler. I can't draw, not at all. So things that cannot be put together with a ruler aren't going to happen here.
And as hard as I tried to do a wonky, crooked and interesting house, I'm having a hard time with those, too. Maybe next time? I know the house looks crooked in the second picture, but it really isn't.
Another thing I've discovered is that I'm only productive and "inventive" in the mornings. Afternoons, I'm useless unless it's routine stuff. Coming up with ideas, trying new things - not going to happen.
I'm obviously also back to bright colors but that's a subject for another blog post.


Stashbuster bag

A bit of occupational therapy this weekend ........ and trying to use up some fabric.

It was 30 months ago today

And you'd think it wasn't a big deal anymore. But there are still days when it seems totally abstract, as if it happened to somebody else and is just the sort of thing you read about. There are still days when I (almost) forget and there are plenty of days, especially lately, when thinking about it just breaks my heart.
One of these days, I just might write it all down - I already have it in journal form. And I sort of did here - Understanding the tragic effects of the drug ecstasy | Napa Valley Register. But that's not the whole story.
But, for now, I've updated my links to include more about suicide awareness and a link about possible warning signs. I also added another link to the drug section, one I found very helpful, about Ecstasy on Wikipedia.



I'm sure my faithful readers (both of them) have noticed that I've changed my blog template and have worked a little on the header. I'm mulling that one over in my mind trying to get it just right but I'm not there yet.
I want to let people know that this is an eclectic blog (very much so) and that I realize my writing about suicide so much is turning quite a few people off. But, you know, it's something I have to do and will continue to do. Because (and here's the answer to my question above) if we/I don't talk about it and make people aware that it can happen to anyone at the drop of a hat, don't look for ways to change things, things will not change for the better.
Not so long ago, cancer was something we didn't talk about. That has changed and with that has come better awareness, better recognition, earlier treatment and saved lives.
Well, it seems that mental illness and suicide are the new cancer. If we don't talk about it, we can pretend it doesn't exist (because it's uncomfortable, isn't it?) and maybe it'll just go away. It won't. Suicide rates are on the rise and the scary thing is suicide completers and attempters are getting younger all the time. Maybe if we address the problem, become more aware, know more about it, learn about the warning signs, we can help. We can help recognize who's at risk, help people get treatment (and there are treatments) and prevent unnecessary deaths. It's worked for cancer, why not for suicide?



It seems as if I've done nothing but sew, take pictures and edit lately. Okay, the last two happened only in the last couple of days, but the sewing has been going on for weeks. All for a custom order and the etsy shop. I spent many, many hours over the last two days listing new bags and I so need a break. Seriously, I - who absolutely love to sew - cannot stand to look at the sewing machine at the moment.
So, a bit of a break is in order. Maybe some chainmaille? Maybe some PMC - my daughter asked for a couple of specific things for Christmas. I really ought to make soap but I can't get myself to do that, either. There'll be some disappointed people this year.
Maybe a good night's sleep, some serious exercise (that's fallen by the wayside, too) and I'll feel differently about the whole thing.



So, I unchained myself from the sewing machine today to visit the Alameda flea market again. It's held on the first Sunday of every month on the old Naval Air Station and it's huge. We've never made it all the way through.
Usually, we end up having to park what seems like miles away but today we got lucky - only about 5 rows from the entrance. And we got there early - right around 9 am (the time change helped) when the price for admission drops to $5.00.

Obviously, I go there to shop, hoping to find "cool stuff" (and I usually do) but I also like to people watch. Today, not so many characters, maybe next time.
Oh yes, and there's food, too. Unfortunately, our favorite sausage seller wasn't there today and even though the mini donuts came highly recommended (freshly made right there), we passed on them.

Some people go there for really serious shopping - see below. Others, not so much.

I finally remembered to bring the camera and took pictures of the cranes and a huge container ship that pulled in as we were shopping.

The field is often used by "Mythbusters" for their stunts involving cars and I'd like to think that the wheelie marks I photographed were made by them. Who knows?


Chained to the sewing machine

Or so it seems this week. I think I've spent hours every day sewing ..... well, except for that day I took DH to the hospital for a test. But even that afternoon, while he was sleeping off the effects of the anesthesia, I was working on my little bags.
There will be an update to the etsy shop really soon - as soon as I get to take pictures (which I don't like much) and edit them (which I really dislike) and upload everything.
And, yes, there will be some triangle/pyramid bags - finally.
As soon as I'm done with my custom order, I'm going to play. So many idea, just no time right now.
Back to the sewing machine. That chain isn't long enough ............
Oh yeah ..... "Happy Halloween, everybody." Still gotta get ready for that, too. I'm "stealing" some of the little plastic rings meant for little girls. They are just too cute, in a hippy sort of way. And I can always put them back into the pot next year.


The first serious rainstorm of the season

A real frog strangler - where even the dog who usually has to sniff every other blade of grass when he goes out for a bathroom break didn't venture much past the steps leading down to the yard. Quickest pit stop ever.
Where we've had at least 4" of rain as of almost 1 pm. How do I know? No, I don't have a rain gauge. But our yard waste gets picked up at about 6:30 am every Tuesday morning and it was raining so hard that I waited until 10 minutes ago to roll the trash cans up to the house. The trash people left the lid open and there were a good 4" of water sloshing around in the bottom of the can. Do you have any idea how heavy that is? I had to haul the can up the house and dump it all out and, of course, all the trash cans were standing in several inches of water in the street. I needed dry socks and pants after that little adventure.
No leaks so far - we have a good roofer - but I think one of the downspouts is disconnected and it's the one right next to the bedroom window. Sounds like machine gun fire on the roof below. Not conducive to sleep. I sure hope the rain slows down dramatically by the time I go to bed.
Yes, I know we need rain - it doesn't rain here in the summer and we're in the third year of a drought - but does it have to be so much all at once? It's not that big a problem here. I don't expect flooding but in all those areas with the bad wildfires there are bound to be mudslides. There already are evacuations ordered in some of those ares.
So, please, a little less rain for now, spread it out over the whole rainy season, please.


An evening with Robin Williams

We lucked out this time and managed to get tickets to see Robin Williams perform at the Napa Opera House. Thursday, when we went, was the third night in a row and we had tickets pretty far in the back because while Larry was trying to buy them, his computer needed to be rebooted. Last time he performed here, the tickets for two performances sold in about 4 minutes and we didn't make it. Not bad, huh? And he doesn't get paid for these performances; all the proceeds go to one of several mostly local charities.
He was funny, of course, and dirty, as expected. Nobody under 16 (or was it 18) was admitted for a pretty good reason. He was very even-handed in making fun of politicians, local issues, people in wine country and Marin County and quite a bit of himself, especially his former drug use and alcoholism. He can do excellent accents (I am so envious) and impersonations and kept it up for almost 2 hours without a break except to have a sip of water here and there.
We'll go again if he decides to perform here again.



I'm sure my faithful readers - both of them - have noticed that I've been AWOL. I needed a bit of a break from the usual things. So, sewing has fallen by the wayside, as has, obviously, blogging. I've been busy, dug out my chain maille a week ago, did some PMC on my own, learned to do Keum Boo and did a fair bit of hiking (and gave myself shin splints again). I have pictures to be edited and posted and it'll happen eventually. But not today.

We hiked down to Kirby Cove last weekend (pictures to follow, but they're up on FB already) and hooked up with several members of the BRF. That's where the shin splints came from - 1 rather steep mile down and then back up. We didn't stay long enough for the equinox celebration, but got to leave some things under and on the prayer tree. Again, pictures to follow.

Here is the link to the latest newsletter from the Bridge Rail Foundation - a few, hopefully, minor setbacks:

BRF_Newsletter_Sept09.pdf (application/pdf Object)


Today is World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people – 15-24 (accidents and homicides are 1 and 2). It is the 11th leading cause overall and the second leading cause among college students.

10-15% of high school students have considered suicide/have a concrete plan, the number is higher for college students.

Twice as many people die by suicide than from HIV/AIDS.

White males over 85 (I have read 65 in other places) have the highest incidence of suicide. And that's the same in all countries. Methods, though, vary by country.

The availability of a firearm in the household increases the risk twofold.

Doctors complete suicide more often than any other profession and female doctors more often than males.

And it's called "completing" suicide, not "committing." Crimes are committed, suicide isn't a crime, just a very desperate attempt to put an end to what experts call "psychache."

Females attempt suicide twice as often as males, but males complete four times as often.

Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide, as are certain personality disorders and psychiatric illnesses.

Suicide rates are highest in spring and below average during the holiday season.

There are an estimated 4.5 million survivors of suicide – those left behind after somebody completes suicide.

For every two people who die in a homicide, 3 die by suicide.

In the US, somebody attempts suicide every minute and somebody completes every 17 minutes.

There are fewer suicides among the Hispanic and African American population, maybe due to the family structure. Native Americans, on the other hand, have the highest percentage of suicides (1.5 to 2 times the average), followed by Caucasian men.

The Golden Gate Bridge is the No. 1 suicide spot in the world, less than 2% of jumpers survive.

I am including two links for risk factors/warning signs of suicide:



And, if you are reading this and feel suicidal, please, please get help. Talk to somebody, call the suicide help line:

1-800-SUICIDE 1-800-273-TALK

1-800-784-2433 1-800-273-825

Suicide is very often an impulsive act and is always, always a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

RIP Henry


Golden Gate Bridge Suicides

Dayna Whitmer of the Bridge Rail Foundation has been working on this website for a long time. She and her family lost Matthew, 20, in November of 2007, but, since no body has ever been found, he is considered a missing person.
I honestly do not know how one can deal with all Dayna has had to go through, but I can well understand why she is doing all that she is doing. As irrational as it sounds and obviously is, I thought for months if I just did the right thing, Henry would be back, or, at least, this hell would be over.
It's amazing what one can learn to live with.


How to be busy all morning ............

............ and still not get anything meaningful, important or fun done.
Get up at 6:45 am to go bicycling in the garage. Read 20 pages of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" - okay, so the book was fun.
Take dog for his morning walk. Encounter nice young woman who pets him (he lives for that) and remarks that he looks just like an Ewok.
Take bath.
Start laundry while waiting for tea water to boil.
Wash dishes while waiting for tea to steep.
Eat breakfast - read more of enjoyable book.
Drink tea in front of computer while reading blogs and spending way too much time on facebook harvesting and replanting and trying to figure out who else to invite to be friend on farmville because, in order to expand farm and waste yet more time, need 8 neighbors and only have 5.
Collect mail, check received zippers against ordered zippers and notice discrepancy. Decide to wait until back order comes - too confusing to deal with now.
Try to sort papers and invoices on desk and kitchen table.
Pick out fabric, ribbon and zippers for more bags for etsy.
Give dog bi-weekly bath (he has a skin condition which requires washing with special shampoo which needs to soak in for 10 minutes) and dry him completely. A good (or not so good) 30 minutes gone. While dog is soaking, water potted plants and discover that son's picture is ruined (must have watered frame at one time). Try to remember to later find disc with pictures and print new one.
Try to decide whether to change into dry clothes or just air dry.
Collapse in front of computer and write (sorta unnecessary) blog post.
And that, just about, was my morning and I feel mildly exhausted and as if I haven't accomplished anything.


I probably should have mentioned in the previous post ...

....... that as part of the grand opening (and that's a relative term) of my little etsy store, I will be giving away a free surprise with every purchase.
The surprise will be something sewn, either a little pouch or a little bag.
Maybe one of these:

or one of these ......


Announcing the grand opening ......

....... of my little ety store - finally.
And little is the operative word here because, as I type this, there are only 4 items listed in the store. But I'll add more as time allows.
I didn't realize it would take so long to get a listing ready - there are pictures to be taken (and, sometimes, retaken), they have to be edited; there are descriptions to be written. And, of course, all that comes after the actual sewing.
So, I've finally taken the plunge. If anybody sees anything that needs changing or could be improved (and be gentle here, please), let me know.

SummerfieldDesigns on Etsy - Summerfield Designs


Zipper week

This week, I've been working on zippers. I think, it's part of my scheme to try and avoid dealing with the etsy thingy.

This is how I used to do zippers - not terribly pretty, eh?

Then I found these:

Looks much better, works on a zipper of any length, but has limited applications.

Then I found this tutorial and used it to make this pouch. Actually, this is my fourth attempt at this method. I messed up in various ways on the others, usually by sewing crooked seams. I simply cannot sew straight to save my life. Just as well, I am hardly ever involved in life-or-death situations and none of them ever involve sewing.
Anyway, back to the zippers: Don't these ends look nice?

This morning , between waiting for the electricity to come back on and giving the dog a bath, I dug out a kit I had ordered from here quite a while ago and learned yet another method to insert zippers. This one requires that you use a zipper of the exact right length which isn't always convenient, but it does make for a really nice, clean looking top edge:

So, this was my week - mostly. I also hooked up and caught up with a few former classmates in Germany after several decades.
What did y'all do for fun? :-)


All things etsy

Quite a while ago, when the sewn stuff started to multiply rapidly, I decided that selling on etsy might be a good idea. Life got in the way and I kept putting it off. On top of that, I always wonder if anybody really would want to buy anything I make and be happy with their purchase.
So, now I'm working on that etsy shop again. It has a banner (courtesy of my daughter), I worked on policy this morning, on writing descriptions, tried to figure out postage cost and took pictures. As usual, I went outside for that and, as happens a little too often for my taste, I wasn't happy with the pictures. The colors were off and no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get them right.
Then I remembered a tutorial I had seen somewhere for a cheap, homemade lightbox. Not having a big enough box handy, I just jammed a large sheet of posterboard under my coffee table, set up two lamps and clicked away. That, with a bit of enhancement, gave a pretty true color. I think I can live with the pictures. Now to work on the rest of it ...........


Before & after

It seems that these days, it's either feast or famine as far as blogging is concerned.
Little Jerry went to the groomer yesterday and, since I was looking for a rather radical haircut for him (I got one earlier this week), I took before and after pictures.

He looks a bit dejected in the second after picture. I would, too, if anybody took off all my hair - I still have plenty in front, just not so much in back. Sort of like Jerry.

Finally sewing again

Finally, finally, after a whole week, I got to touch the sewing machine again. I was beginning to have withdrawal symptoms. I made these:

They were made from this zipper tutorial and this tutorial.

The fabric I used was left over from this bag:

It is made from this pattern. I used one of my favorite lining fabrics and just about panicked when I realized I'd pretty much used up all I had. Spent a lot of time on the web tracking down more of it and, since it's an older fabric, I think I scored the last 2-1/2 yards there were. It's a big bag and I played with the pattern a bit to make a narrower version and came up with this:

There was enough fabric left over to make another one of these made from this pattern. I had a bit of fun with the lining fabric - courtesy of my daughter.
The bags were all made last week, I just didn't have time to photograph etc.